Early Settlers of Union
Descendants...Their Stories...Their Achievements
Mists of History on Their Way of Life
By: Ethelene Dyer Jones
Hotel "on the Square" and the People Who Operated It
Hotel on-the-square, about 1950
Perhaps many remember the days
Akins Hotel “on the Square” in Blairsville operated in its heyday of
guests and feeding crowds of people in its dining hall.
Mr. Marvin Akins who owned and
operated it, was ably assisted by his wife, Mollie Coker Akins. Both were hard-working, outgoing
entrepreneurs, a step ahead for their time.
and Marvin Akins
The two-story, rambling wood frame
building that graced the side of the square where Blue Ridge Street
demolished in the early 1950s. But for many years it hosted tourists,
and judges coming to town for court weeks, and people who just enjoyed
days in a mountain town with favorable climate, especially in summer
In 1912 Marvin Akins purchased land on
the corner of the square. On the
property was a log cabin. Enterprising
Marvin and his wife Mollie decided they could take in guests and allow
sleep in the cabin’s loft on straw mattresses.
The arrangements certainly were not quality accommodations, but
than not having a place at all. Some of
their first guests were peddlers who came to sell their wares to the
Interest grew and Marvin saw the need
of expansion. Over the years he was able
to add to the original log cabin. Soon
the hotel was a two-story structure boasting twelve bedrooms, four
those days it was not uncommon for guests to share baths “on the
commodious dining room and a kitchen where much food was prepared. Some remember that Mr. Akins also purchased
the Carrie Butt Boarding House, also on the square, about 1920. Perhaps this accounted for part of the
expansion of the Akins
Hotel from the
cabin that first took in guests in 1912.
was known for its good meals, and people often sought out “Miss
cooking in her hotel dining room. A
faithful worker in the hotel kitchen, and also assisting Mrs. Mollie
laundry for the hotel, care of the Akins children, and cleaning was
Trammel, a black lady who worked for many years for the Akins family. Meals were generous, and by today’s
standards, extremely low-cost. At one
time they advertised “all you can eat for 25 cents.”
I can recall eating in the dining hall and
enjoying the quality and taste of the food.
In 1944, as an “under classman” at Union County
High School, I was
selected to be one of the servers at the school’s Junior-Senior banquet
That gave me as a teenager opportunity to see the facility
for a special event for Union
County High School students.
But the hotel business was not the
only work Marvin Akins was engaged in.
He once carried the U. S. mail between area
Blairsville to Hemp and on to Blue Ridge,
other routes were from Blairsville to Caldwell Post Office at Track
Young Harris and to Hiawassee. Since
these were station to station deliveries, his responsibility was
mail sacks to their locations, not delivering personal mail to
individuals. He used his faithful mule
and wagon to carry the mail on these routes.
He opened a barber shop and shoe
repair shop in a portion of the old court house. He
also operated the first mortuary in
Blairsville, using an area behind the hotel for a funeral home. That humble beginning was the birth of the
Akins Funeral Homes that his sons continued with and expanded at
and Blue Ridge. He also served as
coroner for a time. And in keeping with
his father’s start in the Akins
Hotel, the noted Milton Inn
was founded and operated by Marvin’s son, Bonnell.
Their family and friends loved to hear
the story of how Joseph Marion Akins and his sweetheart, Mary Elizabeth
“Mollie” Coker eloped. It took them two
tries to accomplish their goal of “running away” and getting married. The first attempt was foiled, but on the
second try, their prearranged plans worked out.
Marvin went to Bethel
on Track Rock Road
one bright Sunday in the fall of 1906, riding in his buggy drawn by a
horse. He helped Mollie in, and away
they went to the home of a Rev. Jones who married them.
That was October 21, 1906, Marvin’s twentieth
birthday. Why they felt it necessary to
elope has not been told. Maybe they were
adventuresome, and certainly romantic—rather than parents being opposed
match. At any rate, their marriage was
solid, and both were hard workers. To
them were born nine children, seven sons and two daughters: William Randolph, Benjamin Edd, Erwin Bonnell,
Mauney Fred, Patrick Henry, Joseph Marvin, Raymond Douglas, Sarah
Joseph Marvin Akins’s great
grandfather, John Akins, was in Union County
by the time of the
1840 census. John Akins, born about 1795
in South Carolina,
died November 27,
He and his wife Sarah (maiden name unknown, born 1810 in North Carolina,
1875) were buried in unmarked graves in the Harmony Grove
Baptist Church Cemetery,
Union County. Joseph
Marvin Akins’ grandfather (from whom
he received his first name Joseph) was Joseph G. Akins (05/25/1926 –
07/13/1863) who married
Mirah Flowers. Joseph was in the 6th
Regiment of the Georgia Calvary Volunteers, Company F, during the Civil
lost his life in the war. He was buried
at the National
Cemetery, Cumberland Gap, Claiborne, TN. Marvin’s grandmother, Mirah, continued to
live on in Union
County and was
buried at Harmony
Grove Cemetery. Joseph Marvin’s parents were Benjamin Calip
– 12/31/1933) and Rossie Lindy Fields Akins (10/22/1865 – 05/09/1898). They were interred at the Harmony Grove
Baptist Church Cemetery.
Joseph Marvin Akins (10/21/1886 – 05/04/1971)
and his wife, Mollie C. Akins (02/15/1888
– 10/22/1967) were laid to rest in the (New) Blairsville Cemetery.
They were blessed with long and productive lives.
Jones; published Dec.
2, 2010 in The Union Sentinel, Blairsville, GA.
permission. All rights reserved.
Jones is a retired educator,
freelance writer, poet, and historian. She may be reached at
phone 478-453-8751; or mail 1708 Cedarwood Road, Milledgeville, GA
Updated December 6, 2010
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